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Hundreds of "Citizen Katies" volunteer October 12

Students and alumnae volunteered at Second Harvest Heartland during Citizen Katie 2012.
Students and alumnae volunteered at Second Harvest Heartland during Citizen Katie 2012.
Photo by Kristine Lee '13.

Over 300 St. Catherine University students, alumnae, staff and faculty are joining forces October 12 for Citizen Katie – A National Day of Service.

The volunteers will be working at 15 different sites throughout the Twin Cities, including Bridging, CommonBond, Dorothy Day Center, Little Brothers–Friends of the Elderly, Mano a Mano, Second Harvest, St. Joseph’s Home for Children and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.

Started in 2004, Citizen Katie was a Residence Life activity initially created to foster relationships between residents on different floors and halls and get students off-campus to experience the Twin Cities.

“We really wanted to challenge students to do something outside of their comfort zone. It was wonderful to see how quickly students connected with the location they were sent, because then the next year, they requested to go back to the same place,” said Sabrina Anderson, associate director of Residence Life and co-founder of Citizen Katie.

Citizen Katie has grown into an educational co-curricular activity, where participants examine their experience and its impact on the community.

“We did reflections right from the start, but eventually paired up with Community Work and Learning so that was handled more intentionally,” says Anderson.

While numerous local nonprofits have had long standing relationships with Citizen Katie, there are a few new local sites this year including Mano a Mano and Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners.

Mano a Mano was a finalist of last year's Opus Prize – hosted by St. Kate's – which gave $1 million to the organization of an "unsung hero" performing humanitarian work. Segundo Velasquez, the founder of Mano a Mano was one of the finalists awarded $100,000 for his organization. On Saturday, volunteers will be packaging medical supplies to send to Bolivia.

“We are thrilled that one of the honorees’ organizations has a local presence so that we may continue the relationship through community service efforts like Citizen Katie,” says Bea Abdallah, vice president for External Relations.

The partnership with Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners was cultivated by one of St. Kate’s newer alumnae chapters. Volunteers will be working in their ReSale 101 store and working with families through the holiday gift program.

“There’s been so much excitement from chapters locally and nationally about Citizen Katie. The opportunity for community service with other Katies has brought alumnae of all ages together,” says Kelly Povo, alumnae chapter manager.

A joint effort between Community Work and Learning, Residence Life, Student Center and Activities and the Office of Alumnae Relations, this is the second year that alumnae have been actively involved in Citizen Katie.

In addition to volunteering locally, St. Kate’s alumnae are also volunteering through their alumnae chapters in greater Minnesota and nationwide in Chicago; Denver; New York City; Naples and Sarasota, Florida; San Francisco; and Rochester, Minn.

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Oct. 7, 2013 by Sharon Rolenc

See also: Alumnae/i, Social Justice, Students